Rituals - E26 • Harry Houdini's Campaign Against Spiritualism


I think it’s safe to say Harry.

Houdini is a legend and the World of Magic.

And one of the most iconic Escape artists who’ve ever lived.

Certainly I know he is a personal hero of yours, he sure is.

And the reason I’m bringing him up today is because while magicians don’t usually reveal the secrets to their tricks, Houdini once went on a crusade against spiritualism to expose mediums and psychics as frauds.


I cannot wait to hear this story.

I know you’ve covered him before on our other podcasts.

Shall not be named but I can’t wait to hear this.

Take on Houdini.

Today is going to be round two of my favorite story.


Hi everyone, and welcome to have rituals a Spotify original from par cast.

I’m M Schultz and I’m Christine Schieffer.

Every week, we’ll explore the evolution of spiritualism and the Occult through stories practices in the impact, on Modern culture.

Christian, I’m very excited to talk about Harry, Houdini love this.


This guy couldn’t be more excited.

This is one of those topics where, if you left me, the In July talking 420 uninterrupted minutes.

What would I talk about?

It would be Harry Houdini and his plight against the mediums and psychics of his time.

I cannot wait till you get.


So impassioned over this topic and I just love to hear it.

I get so jazzed and in case anyone wants to hear it in, maybe a little bit too, lengthy of a piece, you can go listen to our two-parter on and that’s why we drink.

It’s episodes, 155 and 156, but wow, I just can’t get enough of this.


So let’s crack into it.


We all know and love Harry Houdini as a magician or at least I do and I’m okay with standing alone in that.

But in terms of his magical talents, do you have any personal experience with magic?

I love magic and I used to be in love with Chris Angel and I’m just going to stop.


And let you have.

I’m so glad you said it because I wrote that in my notes to make sure I’m not.

I made sure to call you out publicly because you did have a bit of a weird thing with Chris Angel.

You know, I would say a weird a lot of us.

Did a lot of us did.



I see you say weird thing with Chris Angel, I would say like I alone had a weird thing that Chris Angel did not agree to be part of but yes I definitely spent a summer just kind of Being obsessed with him and his whole thing that’s all were you.


So I guess I know the answer to this but there was quite a rivalry, if I understand it.

Of course, Angel vs.

David Blaine of the time.

I never really paid any attention to David.


I was on the Chris train, you know, he didn’t have the same hair as Chris, Angel, I guess you didn’t have the same agenda.

Say quoi.


Okay, that’s that’s what people say about us as podcasters, it may be so, but what about that shit?

Like, wow.

They have.

Do you have any any particular fun stories of seeing a magician perform?

Have you ever seen Chris Angel live?

You know, I haven’t I think it would be too much for me and my brain to process but I did see Penn & Teller live ones and fun.


That was really fun.

And I will say it was great to watch, but it also kind of bummed me out because much like, Houdini, they are kind of on a mission out there.

Pretty outspoken against any sort of psychic or medium, you know, they call it all below.

Any, which I do understand the thought process there especially when people are taking advantage of others.


But someone who likes to believe that psychics and mediums can be real.

I was a little bummed that that was such a big part of it, but their show was amazing.

So I actually my senior thesis in college the class that I took the like got me to graduate it was a psychology class and it was called why people believe weird things and it was every class was just like a different either Supernatural or Illusion tactic.


He talked about cool.

Is that near-death experiences?

We talked about aliens that the whole class was just learned, it was basically the pregame to and that’s why we drink.

I’d like, yeah the part that I hated was that the professor was a staunch skeptic and I would literally come to class from my job as a Ghost Hunter.


And I’d be like, all right, let’s see where this class takes us.

Literally one of the class sources was we would have to watch Penn & Teller bullshit and it’s like, oh man, I respect them.

So So much.

And they do such a great job but like, oh, I wish I could convince them, you know, I know.


Yeah, I know.

And how much do you know, in particular about Harry Houdini a surprising amount?

Considering we often forget the topics we discuss on the podcast, but I think just the way that you told me this story back in the day, the first time, you told it, it really stuck with me and Harry Houdini just one of those people.


You just can’t Forget, You know, you certainly can’t also speaking of magic.

Hurtful you never mentioned my career.

Magic as a clown.

Well I feel like you say hurtful but then every time I bring it up, I get in trouble.

I’m hurt either way.

It’s no you can’t win.



Right before covid.

I actually was auditioning for the Magic Castle, right?

And then covid hit.

So my like mentor and everyone literally lasted like moved away.

So I am back at Ground Zero, but one of the things that I love about the Magic Castle is that if you hit a certain tier of like there’s different levels of your ranking, very at the Magic Castle and Once you hit like gold pin magician status, you have access to Harry Houdini’s like full Archive of all of his own Magic books and you can see like his own basically little workshop of how he did all the his Illusionist tricks.


So that was what I was trying to get to eventually.

I never made it but I do know where it sits and it is not too far away from me.

The night is young and you could make it.

I could do it again.

We’ll see.

And then another thing I wanted to add, which we mentioned later in this is that he is One of the things about his spiritualist history is that he’s Frenemies with Sir, Arthur Conan Doyle who we mentioned, right?


So too, right?

So just wanted to give a shout out to one of the First episodes we did on day six together, they see me and have you have heard of his anger against the spiritualist community, because I scream about it to you all the time.

Yeah, you do.

And, you know, can I just take a moment to say this was kind of an unexpected hero of Timmy for you?


In that?

Yeah, he was much like Penn &.

They are very very staunchly opposed to the psychic mediums of the time who were putting on these kind of shows and trying to take advantage of people.

And so I was surprised that you just so strongly connected with him for that, since you are much more on the side of believer than Houdini was, it’s the drama.


That’s all I see.

I just love the drama.

Also, it’s a combination of magic which a little bit of my life has been invested in at some point and the spiritualist community coal.


Publicly through like Town gossip.

Also like a really was just the chef’s kiss of stories.




But yeah, I would love to see if we could at time travel becomes real one day, I’d love to put Houdini and Penn & Teller all in a room and just so many would have a bro out.


So, let’s get into it before, I don’t stop talking ever.

Alright, so here we are the story of Harry Houdini and his Crusade against the, the, the mediums.


So, Harry, Houdini is very much, an American icon He’s known for his magic Axe and Houdini is actually just his stage name.

He was born Eric Weiss, or would you say Vice with a V?

Yeah, probably.

I don’t know much about Hungary, but at least in my mind it would be Vice well.


He was born in Budapest and 1874 but moved to Wisconsin when he was just four years old and he loved America so much.

He told people, that, that was where he was born Wisconsin boy.

I think it was Appleton Wisconsin, uh, that that sounds like the most like Our own American.


Doesn’t it all time?

You’re at home.

Sounds like apple pie.

So, yeah, so while still pretty young, Houdini fell in love with trapeze arts, and joined a local circus.

When he was nine, and by 1891 Houdini, was living in New York, with his family and created a magic act with a friend.


And they called it.

The brothers Houdini, so fun, the following year in 1892, 18 year old, Harry Houdini’s, dad died, and he took his magic act on the road, okay?

In the Were of 94, 80, 94 Harry, Houdini got married to a fellow performer, and she became his new assistant and show partner, and then the show was called the Houdini’s.


I love that.

It’s like a family affair.

I love it.

So five years into their new act, the Houdini’s caught, their big break, when a rising Vaudeville Tycoon, you know, how rampant they were back?

Then I sure do they, this Vaudeville Tycoon book them for a show and things took off from there and That’s where they were really seen for the first time launched into the spotlight.



So, part of the show by then was Houdini showing off his abilities as an escape artist.

And that was the thing that really defined his legacy because he’s not just a magician, I would call him not to sound like all.

Well actually it’s not the traditionalist illusion artist - yeah, he is known for his Escape tactics and I think you got him trapped bam you don’t.


Okay am Bing.


Boom bada bing bada.


What, what Harry Houdini?

So, the Houdini’s became very rich and famous and enough to buy multiple houses.

Good for them must be nice and in 1913 Houdini’s mother died.

Many say that this is when he started Reinventing his act and making it more extreme.


Apparently this is when he started burying himself alive.

So your lord is that part.

I don’t like that.

Stresses me out a little too much.

That’s probably the saddest part to all of this that he was clearly grieving and trying to relate.

Eight to death in some way or understand that, and so, fun fact.


It’s a fact, it’s not fun, but it’s a fact.

And at the height of his career people really thought that Houdini had superpowers because he was that good.

And he always denied it, which I’m glad he denied IQ majan, the narcissism of like, oh yeah, I’m a superhero.

That’s, that’s so powerful because the other people who are doing these Illusions and saying they were truly doing them and then it was real magic and he was the whole time saying, no, this like do trust everything.


You see, we’re all frauds.

A man of integrity while also bamboozling you.


But he’s like very clear that he’s bamboozling you.

There’s no, uh, he wants you to know this is a trick.

This is all a trick.

Let me publicly say it.


So he always denied that he had super powers which I love him even more for that because he really was like the only one out there being like honest about that.


And he also began a very public battle against spiritualists including mediums and psychics Who he believed basically allowed people to believe in their powers.


So right, he thought they were taking advantage of people.

I mean, they weren’t openly saying, this is a trick so I think he was like, aha, we’re all illusionists here.

Let’s play fair.

Yeah, that’s a great way to put it.

Up next the battle begins here.


How Harry Houdini’s fight against spiritualism, took him all the way to Congress and the friendship that fell apart, because of it all, I’m sensing some, a CD might be involved, but we’ll see.

We’ll see don don, don.

Hi listeners.


It’s Vanessa from the Spotify original from par cast Colts Neck, star series of four-part Deep dive into the religious movement known as the Moonies.

Sushi Mass wedding is political Coos discover the many business ventures beliefs and Scandals of this headline-making sect.


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It’s kind of interesting that a man who made his living by making people believe the unbelievable wasn’t a fan of spiritualism.

Many people actually believe that Houdini himself had Supernatural Powers, which he denied and he preferred to be called a mysterious Entertainer, but I feel like Lists and psychics were also mysterious entertainers.


Yeah, it’s almost like they were in the same circles but he was like, don’t get it twisted.

I’m not one of them.

But also, he kind of wasn’t and I guess because he wasn’t pretending that it was real.

I feel like they both both of them had the same goal with an audience which was to like, leave them kind of awestruck but in different completely different ways.


Yeah, he was always doing it to prove that the other people were also froths.



Like he was obviously very technical.

And I think he considered what he was doing a craft and an art shorter.

And these spiritualists were saying like oh this is a, you know, a natural gift and right connection to the beyond all that I think Houdini was like, okay.


Like I literally know every trick up anyone’s leave.

So like, please don’t play that game with me and pretend like this is legit.

Which again this is where I’ll say personally, like, I do believe that there are people out there with very special guest, but Harry Houdini might have left in your face.

Just to be clear.

Yeah, because he laughs at the idea of Some, he insulted them, by saying, quote, it’s not necessary for the medium to be.


Even a clever conjurer which is like ouch, such a Twist of the knife so they’re not craft people like he is, they’re not even clever, like they can just sit in front of you and lie to your face and they don’t have to do anything Whimsical.


Like he has to do behind the scenes to impress you.

And he considered it a violation of trust that the person looking to contact someone on the other side was never told that the manifestations were Fake according to him.

Yeah, I mean if that is the case and people are taking advantage which I know, oftentimes, they were, that is pretty shady to me.


I find that actually more than Shady.

Just outright unethical.

Yeah, we’ve talked about this before on here that you’ve had.

Yeah, your own experiences of being told like some really awful stuff for your friend was told really awful stuff and it wasn’t even true.

It was just like just like to put on a show I said make the experience more real.


Yeah to paint.

Make it more dramatic and I like at what cost you know, exactly.

So If you’re going to scam people at least tell them like things, they maybe want to hear, you know, like don’t you know, like don’t tell they won’t scam people.

I, you know, I mean between the two, can you imagine getting scammed and that also hearing horrible, horrible moves, like the stress.


Then, at least you can find out.

It was all fake.

You know, that’s true.

That’s true.

So, we briefly, mentioned Houdini’s, frustrations with mediums and spirituality in our episode about a CD Arthur Conan Doyle episode 2.

And he was the man who created Sherlock Eames.

And he’s very involved in the spiritualist community also and the two of them were big-time celebrities at the time and they were also friends.


So I like to imagine a People magazine were out back then like they’d have their own like a couple name or something like they just walk around with Starbucks and sunglasses on and have a good time, but a CD his life of spiritualism got in the way of their friendship.

Hmm, for starters.


Arthur Conan.

Doyle was also one of those people who claimed Houdini was psychic himself, he only believed in Because if you remember, he was like a staunch, but, like staunch believer, a little crazed by would say to a fault.

Yeah, you know, I actually, when we just had one of our, our last shows of our tour, we were in Toronto.


And while I was there, I went to the public library and they have all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s, collection level of his.

And it was interesting to see like where he started and like all of us Sherlock, Holmes stuff.

But by the time he was older and he Was, he didn’t even want to be known for Sherlock Holmes.


I’m all over you saying, like they would tell him, you have to keep writing those books.

That’s what people want to read the money make money, right?

He wanted to write other stuff about Spirit.

You wondering about fairies and things like that.

So it was interesting to like actually be able to see all of his books on fairies and things.


Wow, that’s cool.

Just to see the the chronology as writing.


The progression of his interest in spiritualism but so he was so into it.

That he also was one of the people believing that Houdini had superpowers which is so Awkward because it’s like no, dude I’m not.

It’s all s like no, you’re really psychic but I’m not.


But I’m not though.

It’s especially weird because they were friends.

Like it’s like they’re at dinner and you’re like I feel like Houdini must have thought he was talking to like a loony tune to be like, what are you talking about?

Like, you really are sitting here thinking I’m like like an Avenger or something but magical, it hurts that there have been friendships like that and you don’t have stars in your eyes over me, like that just so we’re clear.


I’ve always called you my superhero and you’ve never denied it.

Unlike Houdini you.

Let me believe that you are full of mystical Powers.

I’m like Houdini.

I like the attention.

So that’s true.

So, a steel Hammer friends, but then during one night, in Atlantic City in a hotel room, this was a 1922 no good story has ever started with that night.


Three, melanic City hotel room, his so a CD, his wife Jean held a seance that Houdini went to.

So just from I own crazed research with Houdini.

I can tell you that he was very, very close to his mother who had just passed as we just discussed on here, right?


And he actually went through a phase where he went from medium to medium desperately, trying to find his mom.

That’s the part of it that I think is so powerful is that he really wanted to.

Like he was open to finding someone who could really do it but he just disproved everyone.


Yeah, it wasn’t like he was just doing it to be an asshole like he really wanted to To if somebody really was able to do this and had these Powers, he was ready to believe it but he just can’t find anyone who did?

I think it originally, especially because he was friends with Arthur Conan Doyle?

Who was such a staunch believer?


I think he was at the very least open-minded to the concept.

I think I remember him even saying like this isn’t a quote from him, but I do think Harry Houdini was kind of like, meh about whether or not spiritualism work, but I think he was like, oh, it could be there, but I don’t know about it.


And so I think when he lost his mom, who he So close with.

He just was really clinging to the fact that maybe it does work.

And he was.

So then you know, his friend’s wife is like, oh, I have the ability to do seances.

Let’s, let’s see where this takes.

Try it out and that night Jean said she ended up being able to channel the spirit of Houdini’s dead mother.


Oh boy, this already feels like a tricky place in a friendship to be pulling and think of the trust him because he’s already gone to a bunch of strangers and hasn’t he’s either been disappointed or felt Swindled.

And so now he’s having this happen with like someone he trusts wife someone, he trusts someone who teaches us and so she says that she’s got ahold of Houdini’s, said mother and she started even doing some automatic writing.


And so putting on paper, what Houdini’s mom was allegedly saying to her and she wrote it in fluent English, but the issue was Houdini’s, mom, was from Hungary and knew very little English to my gosh, I’ve he’s such a rookie mistake, Gene, a roof, Mistake.



So probably thinking, oh, this lady’s from Appleton Wisconsin.

I think I can probably Channel all.

I got a sweet pie bacon on the windowsill cooling on the windowsill might as well write it in a Midwest accent while we’re at it.




So their friendship pretty much ended after that.



Just because I mean, the trust was completely betrayed.

I imagine it would be a heartbreaking moment and then they made their arguments very public, which I get into extreme detail on and on, that’s why we drink.

But this includes using the Press Yes, and even while giving lectures there, just so openly not feel any each other anymore.


This is like the old-timey like Twitter feud.

And yeah we would have been all following this on Tick Tock, and there had been people like commentating on it again.

This would have been People magazine front cover, the big tear the picture of them, but those are Starbucks and there would be like a tear in the photo broken trust.


Yeah, I wrote it already.

Don’t worry.

Stop it.

So, see this is you.

Wondering why I like, who did he see?

I get it now I just I just I want an E True, Hollywood Story and I’m not getting it.

I’m losing my mind over here, to be fair.

Houdini made this all a very public campaign.


Not just his fight with Arthur Conan Doyle and he did.

So while performing his magic shows, so he’s like, on tour and in his off time he’s also just like taken down, by the way, by the way, I’m not a fan of spiritualism an ACD sucks.


I think he actually wrote Out.

Oh no.

That was a different person that gets involved.

It becomes a real mess in this gear system.

Usually people start taking sides, it’s people start taking out ads in the newspaper, like, cuss each other out, it’s a whole life.

So this is how he would do it while he was on tour on show nights.


He would call out the local spiritualists and he even gave public presentations about his like a witch hunts with with visual aids.

He started even like I remember seeing Flyers during like for one of his shows and it like came with cartoons of like how mediums are duping you Oh my God.


Cartoons, you made like little comic strips about, like, how you can do these illusions at home.

Must have genuinely pissed off the people who were who are trying to pull one over on their client.

Oh he was trying to take down the system.

He was like Burning Bridges left and right.


Oh 100% king of Burning Bridges.

He was even answering questions about fake mediums and newspapers.

I mean this was a full-time hobby for him.

So in 1924 he put his anti spiritualist movement into a book called a Isshin among the spirits where he debunked some of the effects that mediums produced including making things float.



So, I would love to hear about Rolando’s little bed, moving all over the place.

Exactly just saying.

And then in the fall of 1925, Houdini created an entirely new live showed just to debunk psychics and mediums in cities around the country.

Man, that must have tick people off the best part.


Is he each night?

He would publicly offer ten thousand dollars at the time to anyone who could show off.

Natural abilities that he could not replicate himself.

Oh my gosh.

And the fact that nobody could do it and the show sold out all over the country, obviously, for sure in our part to on and that’s why we drink, I talked about mean a Crandon who was like his arch-nemesis.


I was like Enemy Number One, Public Enemy.

Number One for him on in the medium world, and he hated her at some shows.

He would even I think it was at shows that like, it were local to her, she was in Boston, right?

And he would get on stage.

Age and call her out personally and be like mediakron.


And if you come up here and do something I can’t do, I’ll give you ten thousand dollars right now.

That has got to be such like an ego blow, like a blow to her ego.

You know how my gosh, it was just, but then, I don’t know.

I also, wonder, like what it looked like for the actual mediums.

Like, a people are pouring into their into their sessions, like trying to, like, disprove them, like, did they still make money off of it?


Listen up, crew persuade.

I don’t know.


So Houdini actually testified in front of Congress, by the way, in, 26 to support legislation that would criminalize fortune telling and anyone who claim they could reunite you with a lost loved one.

That’s quite a quite something to go to Congress.


I mean, talk about Vengeance on like just wanting a relationship or just waiting to hear from your mom and like, yeah, someone burning you so many times you’re like I’m going to go to Congress.

So this can’t happen to other people just say to the president real quick.



At least he’s using his power for good, right?

Like that’s shown to Take advantage of people who are being taken advantage of.

So, it’s almost like a vigilante running around, like, trying to.

He was dumped in the Batman of the time.

Yeah, yeah.

And Houdini said, quote, this thing they call spiritualism we’re in a medium, inter communicates with the dead, is a fraud from start to finish.


I just love that.

Like, start to finish.

End of story, bada-bing bada-boom.

I’m out.

This is not what I want to do, and then he poof, he vanishes in a puff of smoke and everyone’s like, oh, he’s magic deed.


If he didn’t leave Congress in a blaze of glory, like that was sad that couldn’t have happened because we would have all heard about it shortly, right?


I’m convinced, I’m convinced I was a journalist in this time period in a past life because I’m writing all this down.

You were not a writer for people though, you were writer for National Enquirer.

You were like and then he explodes into feathers, he truly is magic.

So, the Washington Post called this hearing uproarious My it sounds like it.


It sounds like he may be did just poof into are, I don’t know, could have been.

And during his testimony Houdini even showed off some of the tricks that mediums use to perform to fool people.


That must have been for people in Congress who probably have a pretty boring as far as C-SPAN has told me so far, my life pretty boring day.


This would have been probably one of the most memorable afternoons and horse.

Especially imagine if like you I don’t know what the phrases are but like what if you’re not invited to this meeting?

Yeah, yeah.


You know, your buddy on one day or something.

What if all your buddies get to go to this meeting, but you had to like, stay at the office and fill out paperwork, and they all come back in there.


Like, you wouldn’t believe what?

I just watched him like throw it back.

Do Plaza.

That’s crazy!

There were reportedly around, 300 fortune, tellers mediums and astrologers there to defend themselves from him, doing these performances in court, good luck.

And during this hearing, Houdini also kept his public fight with Arthur Conan Doyle going calling him in front of everybody, one of the greatest Dukes, Oh ouch and in the end the bill died in committee.


Oh so never I mean I guess we still have you know fortune-telling today so could have predicted that but make sense.

That would it still exists?

Yeah, I don’t know why it died in committee.

I don’t know what the caveat was but it’s probably the 300.

Some people there to defend themselves.


Probably helped them decide, I think we got to let them keep doing this.

All in all Houdini said he personally investigated hundreds of spiritualists over 35 years.

And this is something that we talked about and the first episode of our part one.

And that’s why we drink for, he had like a whole like group of spies.


Oh yeah, that would go into seances and like report back to him.

So a lot of times he would go even wearing a disguise himself at some point.

He’d rip off the disguise and will appeal to everyone, how he thought fraud was being committed.

Houdini is nothing.


If not just like a drama queen.

I mean the fact that he had to reveal Solve on the spot with like I mean today that would be Tick-Tock viral every five seconds.

Like he rips off his disguise and says I caught you.

I mean.


Can you imagine being one of the people in that Seance though?


And you don’t know Houdini’s next to you?


Like what I imagine.

Like someone getting like a small free private concert with like a famous musician.

Yeah, I was going to say getting into the Cash Cab but also that it is like you are hitting the lottery though you’re hitting the jackpot because like imagine just sitting there all of a Sudden a man just gets up in the middle of the sentence because, Aha, and it’s off his mustache, yet it’s Harry Houdini.


And now, he’s doing magic, in a private room for you, while you get to watch like the drama between him and this medium.

But also I feel like I’d be pissed because I’m like, I was just talking to my uncle and now Houdini’s here to like ruin this for me, you know, all I know is if nothing or really happening for me in that room, and I felt like, I should probably leave anyway, and then that happened year, right?


Stick around my brain would explode.

I’d be like this.

Just the serotonin recycle anti can’t process this.

So he would wear his own disguises and Houdini even had employees to help him.

And one woman who worked for him, Rose Mackin Berg, who was a big character in my notes, she would also wear disguises to seances and meet psychics and then report back to Houdini.


And it gave him some Intel on, like, what?

The new tricks were that, they were going to try to use maybe against Houdini or like something he hadn’t heard of yet.

And he just kind of had like a full running list of every trick that that psychics were doing and he would make His Spanish.



And he would make it, his personal goal to know how to do every single one of them.

That’s amazing.

And then he would call them out on stage when they were when he was in their town.

So like, yeah, they couldn’t win, I love it.

So Rose even said in over two years, working with Houdini she investigated more than 300, psychics and Sears 300.


Wow, this is no hobby anymore.

This is a whole side.

Hustle full-time job.

And then of course he would run his mouth about it to anyone who would listen to something.

Of course.

That’s why we love him.

Coming up as loud as his hatred of spiritualism got during his lifetime.


There’s an ironic may be hypocritical.

Twist surrounding Houdini’s death.

Oh boy, of course, he had to go out in a blaze of glory out from Congress out from life.

I can’t wait to hear it all of it.


By 1926, Harry, Houdini’s, Crusade against spiritualism.

Hit the big stage with his Congressional hearing, though it ended in a fud with the government voting down, any legislation, that outlawed mediums, but his bread and butter was his Showmanship as we can tell.


I did that same year, he landed his own one-man, show on Broadway which lassic, I must have done something so wrong, in a past life to not be around during this time to see this.


I mean, wow, beautiful.

It was simply called Houdini and of course it was included.


The Gambit of his career from the easy illusion tricks, his complicated escapes and of course a whole bit about spiritualism and the show was so big, it was such a hit that.

He took it on the road, amazing, but that October, while in Montreal, a man attacked Houdini in his dressing room, hitting him in the stomach many, many times, oh my God.


So here’s the thing Mina Crandon I really keep Concerning my own notes here, but this is quite a fun fact, mean a Crandon at, like, one of the big peaks of her issues with Houdini.

She made a prediction and said, Houdini will be dead, by November, and on Halloween night, October. 31st.


The day before November.

Oh, no, he was doing a show where one of his b was that he would let people like, I guess punch him in the stomach because he could tighten up his stomach so hard.

He was like no right?

Like a stomach of Steel.

Right and basically in his dressing room this man who was uninvited walked into his room and just got him right in the gut.


Damn and I guess this was the way that he usually prepares for that bit as he has a whole thing where he tightens his muscles a certain way.

And because they weren’t tighten the right way.

He got punched when he wasn’t prepared and it ended up aggravating a case of appendicitis.

Oh no.


And even though Houdini was really sick from that, he performed more shows before his appendix was room.


But in the delay in getting surgery meant the infection was able to spread and Harry Houdini died and Detroit on Halloween.

Oh my gosh.

Okay well maybe this is just my True Crime brain talking but the fact that Mina Crandon was like he’s gonna die by November and then he just so happens that I had be like suspect number one.


I think that’s you’re not alone.

There’s a whole conspiracy that about like did she say it would happen by November and then one of her like Staunch Believers and Advocates, found Houdini and tried to hurt him to make sure that it came true, that her prediction was true, or did she really predict it?


But a lot of people think there was a conspiracy there of like oh she predicted something and then there was a setup, so right, who knows?

But now here’s the real kicker in the event that he died before.

Her Harry, Houdini gave his wife, a secret code.

And he promised that if it actually was possible to talk to the dead, he would communicate that Code to her from Beyond.


Oh my goodness.

And his wife held a seance for 10 years, every Halloween.

Every it was always on his death day.


But she never heard from him and she said, you know what, 10 years is long enough to wait for a man and quote that’s it.


Well, she’s not wrong, she’s not wrong, but what a way to Sochi, wait, there for 10 years and she was like, that’s enough for me.

But I will tell you at the magic, castle on Halloween.

They do hold a limited space seance.

Why shoot in Harry Houdini’s like area to try to conjure?


Harry, Houdini incredible.

I don’t know if they still do it after covid or anything, but that was one of the selling points when I was auditioning.

They’re like, oh yeah.

We have a every Halloween.

We do a seance for Houdini and I was like, yeah, I’m coming to that.

Yeah, so correct me if I’m wrong, but if I remember correctly, there was a time when she did receive the code and it turns out somebody had found out what the code was.


I feel like we did talk about that.

I don’t.

Yeah, I don’t remember the facts though.

Yeah, it was, it was a very specific line from a song or something though.


Wow, Christian.

Dior on it.

I just remember this story because it’s so wild, and I remember like that moment of you think like, oh my gosh, it really happened that she got this secret code, but then it turns out, which is even a double blow.


I think that the person who said that they received his message, had actually found this code in a locket or something, like they knew, they knew those the code so they were Hoaxing her, which is just doubly bad.

In my opinion.

Oh wow.

Honestly, you know, it would be terrible if it was a like totally like a scam again and like Harry Houdini was right all over again.


The like people are just taking advantage of others, right?

It would also suck though if she found out that you know talking to the dead is real.

And now he’s not even around to be able to he’s not even around for her to tell him about it and he just spent his whole career like pooh-poohing on it and makes me wonder though it’s like he was just so stubborn.


From Beyond the Grave that he was like, oh well it is possible, but I don’t want to prove everyone, right?

So I’m just going to sit here.

It sounds very similar to a story.

I just told you about.

My I had a friend who did the same thing.

We had an agreement on whoever went first, we would try to communicate with each other from beyond the grave and sure enough after he passed.


I never heard anything even though and he was a staunch skeptic.

So he was a stock schematic.

So I feel like him and Houdini are probably like bumping Bose up there being like we got them.

We’re not saying a word to these folks but anyway, That’s that’s the I did say I could talk about this forever and not stop.


So this is the most Abridged version I could pump out of me of Harry Houdini.

You did a great job.

I love this story.

I just love it and I think it’s so powerful that he was doing all the same things that the mediums were doing.

He wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines and calling them fake.


He was actually proving it which is just so cool.

He was a an activist maybe of in his own time, but what do you think?

Do you think Houdini had L’cie towards mediums and psychics at all because I feel like that’s a fair argument of like they’re they have to do nothing where I have to put on this whole production and people are believing both of us for the same price.


I almost I don’t think he was necessarily jealous.

I think maybe it was just more like this kind of anger that people were that they were taking advantage of people that people are falling for this, that no matter how many times you tried to prove that this was fake and show Congress like it still kept happening.


I can imagine him having been taken.

Vantage of himself.

He must have just been, had such a vendetta to prove these people wrong.

I think it’s a little bit of everything I think.

I’ve totally agree with you that.

He, his mindset is probably don’t bullshit a bullshitter of like, yeah, yeah, exactly.


I know how Illusions work and also, he probably maybe felt so I mean, he was probably burned from the times where he let himself be vulnerable to it.

And then he was like, what am I talking about?

I’m an illusion artists.

And I like totally let them trick me or however he thought about it, but I do think it all the Catalyst was him.


Not being able to find his mom or like, finding out that he was being swindled every time.

He gave them a shot and on top of it, like I couldn’t be fun to watch all these other people being so successful knowing that they don’t haven’t really earned it.

Yeah, I do I think it’s a combination of everything with him particularly thinking, like I need to protect other people from getting her.


Like I have, there must have been a frustration there that that these people, these mediums and psychics kept getting customers even though he was trying to prove them wrong over and over again.

It also has to be a fun like Lunch for himself like I like to think if he’s still passionate about his own like talents and Magic, it was fun for him to think.


How can I consider myself an illusion artist?

If I can fall for the tricks up their sleeve?

When I appoint.

So like maybe I just make this my hobby where I just try to see how many times I can challenge them and figure out what they’re up to, so it was literally Penn & teller’s bullshit by the way.

Like, that’s, yeah, that’s what the show is.


Where they watch magicians perform, and then on a judging panel, they tell you how the you did it.

So it’s amazing.

Yeah, so it’s just a history repeats itself.

Love it.

He started at all.


Anyway, so there it is.

My favorite story, folks.

Thanks so much for listening.


We’ll be back next week with another great episode information.

On today’s episode came from PBS Ripley’s the New York Times Smithsonian Magazine, the great Harry, Houdini.com The Washington Post and the guardian.

Remember to follow rituals on Spotify to get a brand new episode every week and you can listen to this and all other episodes of rituals for free exclusively on Spotify.


And if you like the show follow at Park asked on Facebook and Instagram and at Park S network on Twitter.

You can find me at the M Schultz and you can find me at Eckstein cheaper, thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.

Rituals is executive produced by Max Cutler and as a Spotify original from par cast, it was created by Max color, sound design by Kristen Acevedo with associate.


Sound design by Jamie Ryan fact-checking by Catherine Barner research by Chelsea would.

It’s produced by Chris and Acevedo and Jonathan Ratliff.

With production, assistants by Ron Shapiro.

We’re your host, Christine cheaper and EM Schulz.

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